It is obvious that cricket here has seen a rapid decline, but it cannot get worse than the failure to issue a release about the departure of the Guyana Under-19 squad to play in the Cricket West Indies Regional tournament.
The team left the Eugene F Correia International Airport on Friday en route to St Kitts, where they were to participate in a three-day limited over tournament that commenced on July 24 and will run until August 21. Guyana are the reigning limited over champions and have won the tournament on the last three occasions. However, the move not to officially inform the nation about the squad’s departure is unprecedented. Earlier this month the GCB did not issue an official release about the Under-17 squad until the night before the team departed. That was subsequent to enquiries made by me to gather data on the squad. The delayed announcement about the Under-17 squad had disappointed cricket lovers throughout the nation, some of whom have criticized the GCB for its late announcement of several youth squads in recent years.
A mere week before the team departed on Friday last, the GCB issued a release on a 21-member training squad that was expected to play three practice matches before departure; however, they did not play any.
In his only interview (Guyana Chronicle) about the preparation of the squad prior to their departure, Coach Julian Moore, who has been successful with the Under-15 squad in the last three years and has now replaced Adrian Amsterdam for the tour, said the technical aspect of each player was one area he focused on. However, as a coach he would know that there is not much you could do technically to improve a player within a week, especially if you have to focus on 19 others as well. He added: “Apart from utilising the LBI facility, we had two days of net sessions at Everest, along with additional training at the National Park, so ‘yes’ the weather affected us somewhat, but we utilised the LBI facility to its fullest.”
On the night of the team’s departure several calls to the Territorial Development Officer (TDO), Colin Stuart, for clarification on the matter proved to be futile. At that moment it was Secretary of the GCB, Anand Sanasie, who sought to explain the reason why no release was forthcoming on the squad and who further informed me that a release was expected to follow our conversation.
If the Guyana Under-19 are to emerge victors in any segment of the tournament it would be pure luck. Not even the presence of the West Indies duo, Bhaskar Yadram and Joshua Persaud along with senior players like Renaldo Ali Mohammed, Raymond Perez, Kheshram Seyhodan, Richie Looknauth and Sylus Tyndal could save them. Unfortunately for these young Guyanese I fear a similar fate to that of the Under-17s; they will be dismissed cheaply on most occasions while their batsmen will fail horrendously because of lack of preparation.
Similar to the high level of secrecy surrounding these teams, the Under-15 squad departed on Monday and this was officially announced at 14:52h via an email.
This is unacceptable as the public should always be acquainted with our young sporting ambassadors. It is not a practice in any other sport discipline in Guyana.